Citrix MetaFrame XP Server Requirements

This section addresses the requirements of a Windows server that need to be in place before MetaFrame XP is installed.

This section addresses the requirements of a Windows server that need to be in place before MetaFrame XP is installed. We'll begin by looking at the software requirements.

Software Requirements - Base Operating System

MetaFrame XP can be installed onto a server running Windows NT Server 4.0, Terminal Server Edition (simply referred to as "Terminal Server 4.0" or "TSE" in the industry) or Windows 2000 Server with Terminal Services enabled in Application Mode (referred to as "WTS"). Minimum operating system requirements are as follows:

  • Windows NT Server 4.0, Terminal Server Edition: Service Pack 5
  • Windows 2000 Server or Advanced Server: Service Pack 1

These are just the minimum requirements needed for the MetaFrame XP installation to be successful. In the real world, you should use the latest service pack that you can support within your organization. As of this writing, those are Service Pack 6 for Terminal Server 4.0 and Service Pack 3 for Windows 2000.

Should you use Terminal Server 4.0 or Windows 2000?

MetaFrame XP installs in exactly the same way on either platform. Furthermore, it acts the same on both platforms. At this point in time, Windows 2000 is stable enough that it should be the default platform for MetaFrame XP unless you have some specific reason to stay with Terminal Server 4.0. Besides, Citrix has officially decided to stop developing new products for Terminal Server 4.0, so you must use Windows 2000 if you want the "latest and greatest" from Citrix.

When designing a MetaFrame XP environment for your enterprise, the important thing is that the version of MetaFrame on all your servers is the same. The underlying operating system is less important. The lowest common denominator is key when deploying MetaFrame XP across platforms. You will not be able to use Group Policy across your entire environment if only half of your MetaFrame XP servers on running on Windows 2000 (obviously).

One thing you do need to be careful about when deploying MetaFrame XP across multiple operating systems is application publishing. If you publish one application across multiple platforms, your users will randomly get different platforms when they connect on different days. Depending on the application, this would be very confusing for your users. (More on application publishing in Chapter 4.)

Using MetaFrame on Terminal Server 4.0

If you're using Terminal Server 4.0, be aware that Terminal Server service packs and Windows NT service packs are not the same and are not compatible. In order to download the proper service pack, make sure that you choose Service Pack 5 or 6 for Windows NT Server, Terminal Server Edition. Service Pack 6 for Terminal Server 4.0 is based on Service Pack 6a for Windows NT 4.0, so there is no such thing as Service Pack 6a for Terminal Server 4.0.

In addition to Windows Service Pack 5, MetaFrame XP running on Terminal Server 4.0 also requires MDAC 2.5 with Service Pack 2. (That's Service Pack 2 for MDAC, not Windows.) You will also need to manually install the JET components. It is recommended that you install JET 4.0 with Service Pack 3.

You can download the necessary JET and MDAC components from the Microsoft Universal Data Access Website, at You should be very careful to test any new versions of MDAC that you download. For example, MDAC 2.6 caused major problems with MetaFrame XP when it was first released. For up-to-date information about MDAC versions and common problems with MetaFrame XP, you should consider joining a free online users group, such as the THIN list at

Using MetaFrame XP on Windows 2000 Server

If you are using MetaFrame XP on Windows 2000 servers, Windows 2000's Service Pack 2 includes and automatically updates MDAC to Service Pack 2. However, it's recommended that you use Service Pack 3 for Windows 2000. If you can't do this, then be sure to read the rest of this book before deploying MetaFrame XP in your environment, because there are several post-Service Pack 2 hotfixes that you should apply prior to installing MetaFrame XP.

Windows 2000 - Server or Advanced Server?

If you decide to use Windows 2000 Server as the platform for your MetaFrame XP environment, you will need to decide which version of Windows 2000 you will use-Server or Advanced Server. Fortunately, from the MetaFrame XP standpoint, it doesn't matter which platform you use. All MetaFrame XP functions and options are available on both Windows 2000 Server and Windows 2000 Advanced Server.

The real decision about which version of Windows 2000 you should use will be based on the underlying functionality of Windows 2000 that you require. In probably 99% of all cases, the only reason that people choose Advanced Server instead of Server is that Advanced Server supports more processors and more memory. While it's true that Advanced Server also supports additional functionality such as clustering, this functionality is rarely (if ever) used in MetaFrame XP environments. This is because MetaFrame offers its own, application-specific versions of this advanced functionality. (For details, read the next 700 pages.)

Server Hardware Requirements

In addition to the underlying operating system, there are certain server hardware requirements that your MetaFrame XP servers must meet. From a "bare minimum" standpoint, any computer that can run Terminal Server can run MetaFrame XP. From a "practical" standpoint, however, there are many different factors that you need to consider when thinking about server hardware.

Truthfully, properly sizing a MetaFrame XP server is more of an exercise in the performance optimization of your overall MetaFrame XP environment than it is meeting a raw hardware requirements checklist. For this reason, the topic of MetaFrame XP optimization and server sizing deserves its own chapter, and the topic is covered in-depth in Chapter 6.


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